Other than writing Christmas cards the first week of the month, January had the theme, "Erin's birthday."
We didn't do a lot on her actual birth day besides watch Erin unwrap a few presents. But on the 14th, my mom flew out to help us prepare for the "real" treat. She spent over a week working 12-hour days in my kitchen, not only helping us to get fed each day, but to double the recipe or make something extra to put in the freezer for our trip to Seattle (23rd-27th.) We had food made for the whole five days, plus enough leftovers for the day after we came home. We only went to the grocery store for fresh vegetables, to go with our meals and for juicing, while we were there. All of the preparation was tons of work, but so worth it. I then had the energy to actually "do something" in the afternoons of each of the three days we were there.
Our gift to Erin was the opportunity to go to a book signing of her favorite living author, Shannon Hale. That happened on Thursday. (See Erin's blog for pics and highlights of a very memorable afternoon.) Before the signing, we were able to stop at my sister's nanny job, a modern home recently built in an old part of town by the university. We met the baby she takes care of, but the toddler was having nap-time.
But Erin had more treats coming after meeting her "hero." She planned a Seattle birthday party, inviting the authors and local postergirlz/helpers, of Readergirlz. These gals have been her mentors and friends for over a year, and to meet them in person was another one of her dreams.
Friday, the day after the book signing, Erin and I managed to find enough energy to go shopping in the mall that was across the street from where we were staying. We shopped for some party items, plus Erin found a dress to buy with her grandparents' birthday money. The guys found a place to race electric race-cars, and had 10 minutes of blissful thrills speeding around the track against each other.
Saturday was the day of the birthday party. My mom, sister, and brother-in-law, came a little early to help decorate and prepare for the party. The guys waited around for the authors to come, as Brady had a book he wanted signed by one of them. Then they were off to visit the Flight Museum.
The party was lots of fun, complete with games, birthday cake, and Erin choking everyone up by singing "For Good". One of the authors (Readergirl divas) couldn't make it to the party, as she was at the X-games as part of her book tour. But another diva dialed her up on her cell phone and Erin was able to talk to her. Fun! We all felt so privileged that these super-cool and busy ladies (along with the two teenage daughters of one) were helping Erin to celebrate her 17th birthday.
After the party, the guys called to have us send food along with my mom and sister, (along with our van,) to my sister's house. My brother-in-law offered to treat them to a semi-professional hockey game that night (in walking distance from their condo.) Brady came home still high on adrenaline from the excitement of his day. It was so wonderful to see his eyes lit up with joy as he told us some of the highlights of the museum and game.
We have not only taken one week off from going to treatments, but two, as this week we've gotten 16 or so inches of (more) snow. The town closed down - the first time for the university to ever cancel school because of weather. We're hoping we can get to the doctor's office next week; it's needed, but more snow is predicted. Some people are saying it's the most snow our area has received in 30 years.
It humbles us so very much to know all the efforts put forth by so many to help us have some fun and some time "away" from the everyday rigors of our illness. After all the giving that people did before and during our trip, we came home to a snow-blown driveway, courtesy of a neighbor. We are so very blessed.
Other links: An interview featuring our own, Miss Erin.
A horse picture 'cause it's purty, and it makes me happy ; )